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IAS Success Story: Meet 1994 UPSC Topper Who Rejected Offer To Sing In Superhit Bollywood Film Prem Rog


New Delhi: The convergence of civil services and Bollywood remains a rare phenomenon in India, despite the country boasting highly skilled and versatile bureaucrats. Notable instances include Abhishek Singh, who transitioned from an IAS officer to an actor, and HS Keerthana, who shifted from acting to becoming an IAS officer. Among these stories, one stands out—the journey of Srivatsa Krishna, a senior IAS officer and the 1994 UPSC topper, who also left his mark as a playback singer in the Bollywood industry.

From a young age, Srivatsa harboured dual dreams of becoming a Bollywood singer and donning the hat of an IAS officer. A brilliant student, he pursued education at Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC), turning down full scholarships from prestigious US institutes like Stanford University and Yale to fulfill his father’s last wish of becoming an IAS officer.

Srivatsa’s academic journey is illustrious, with stints at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Oxford University, and a Ph.D. from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras. Notably, he became the first IAS officer in history to hold an MBA from Harvard.

Despite his dedication to academics and bureaucracy, Srivatsa Krishna didn’t forsake his passion for music. Originally offered a singing opportunity by music director Ravindra Jain in Raj Kapoor’s film ‘Prem Rog,’ Srivatsa had to decline to honour his father’s desire for him to complete his studies first.

His breakthrough in Bollywood came when he sang the Vishnu Sahasranamam Mantra in Dibakar Banerjee’s film “Shanghai.” The turning point occurred during an impromptu meeting at a cafe between Srivatsa and Banerjee, who, interestingly, shared a college history as rival debaters. This unexpected opportunity added a unique layer to their collaboration.

Despite earlier setbacks, Srivatsa Krishna eventually found his chance to showcase his singing talent when he lent his voice to the Vishnu Sahasranamam Mantra in Dibakar Banerjee’s acclaimed Bollywood film, ‘Shanghai.’ His journey took a significant turn when he was auditioned by the legendary Oscar-winning musician AR Rahman for an upcoming production, as documented by IMDb.


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